"Little Shop of Horrors" Cast and Creative Team
Little Shop of Horrors
By Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Directed by Bill Fennelly
Chiffon.............................................Johari Nandi Mackey*
The Voice of Audrey II/Wino 1.........Chaz Rose*
Audrey II Manipulation.....................Stephen Kriz Gardner
Rick Lewis.........................................Music Supervisor
Michael Schweikardt..........................Scenic Designer
Kathleen Geldard...............................Costume Designer
William C. Kirkham.............................Lighting Designer
Casi Pacilio........................................Sound Designer
Robert Billig........................................Original Vocal Arrangements
Robert Merkin....................................Original Orchestrations
John Armour......................................Fight Director
Mark Tynan*......................................Stage Manager
Johari Nandi Mackey*.......................Dance Captain
Janine Vanderhoff*............................Assistant Stage Manager
Bailey Anne Maxwell.........................Production Assistant
Stephen Kriz Gardner.......................Production Assistant
Harriet Bass......................................New York Casting
Brandon Woolley...............................Local Casting
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Nick Cearley is one half of the critically acclaimed "undie"-rock comedy duo known as The Skivvies (theskivviesnyc.com), co-created with Lauren Molina. Most recently, he completed five regional premieres of the one-person play Buyer & Cellar. Off-Broadway: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Pageant: The Musical (Original Cast Album on Jay Records, Drama Desk nomination); and Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Broadway/First National Tour: All Shook Up. Regional highlights: Twelfth Night (dir. Scott Schwartz), Next to Normal, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Plaid Tidings (dir. Gordon Greenberg) and The Rocky Horror Show (dir. Hunter Foster); Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, American Stage Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, New York Stage and Film, City Theatre, Eugene O Neill Center, Berkshire Theatre Group, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Rubicon Theatre Company, Bucks County Playhouse. TV pilots for Fox, WE and A&E. The Armory debut! Follow Nick on Instagram/Twitter: @clearlycearley @theskivviesnyc.
Johari Nandi Mackey
Will is very excited to be back at The Armory for Little Shop of Horrors, where he was previously in the pit for Ain't Misbehavin', Cabaret, West Side Story and The Fantasticks. Other Portland credits include Les Misérables at Broadway Rose Theatre Company, Mars on Life at Artists Repertory Theatre and The Full Monty at Pixie Dust. He has toured the United States and Britain as a member of eight different bands from the Portland area and beyond. He teaches upright and electric bass, and cello.
Originally from Chico, CA, Jeffrey has been the staff accompanist at CSU, Chico, as well as the cofounder of Theater, ETC, a musical theater program for children. He has helped to develop shows with the Broadway Junior program at Music Theatre International in New York. He served as assistant music director for Dreamgirls, Fiddler on the Roof and Sweeney Todd at The Armory. Some favorite shows he's music directed in Portland are The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Taffeta Christmas, Oklahoma! and The World Goes Round (PAMTA, Drammy) at Broadway Rose Theatre Company. Other credits include: A Year with Frog and Toad and James and the Giant Peach at Oregon Children's Theatre, and Violet at Staged!. Jeffrey teaches classes and camps at Oregon Children's Theatre and Spotlight Musical Theatre Academy.
Tim Ribner played keyboard for the 2014 production of Dreamgirls at The Armory. He has taught and performed with PHAME Academy and Northwest Children's Theater in Portland. He has also been involved with musical productions at Westminster Choir College, Princeton University, Columbia University and Harlem School for the Arts. He obtained a B.F.A. in Jazz Performance from New School University and enjoys being surrounded by plants.
Having thirty years with his hands at the acoustic, electric and classical guitars, Eric plays a broad cross section of music genres. In his early twenties, he toured nationally for two years in several groups, recording three albums. Also a singer and sound engineer, he spends his time writing, arranging, recording, sound designing, mixing and producing, but his big passion is live performance. These days you will usually find him performing in musical theater orchestras in the greater Portland region. Favorite shows include Dreamgirls, Fiddler on the Roof, Next to Normal, Hairspray, Annie, The Kiss and The Devil vs Matthew McConaughey.
Though born and raised in Portland, Mitch Wilson has had the opportunity to perform across the country and around the world. He traveled to Taiwan to perform in their tremendous New Year celebration, Festival of Lights. In 2010, Mitch received a B.F.A. from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. While there, he toured with rock band The Pretty Reckless, featuring Taylor Momsen. He also gained a unique insight into the contemporary music industry by working at the prestigious Virgin Records/EMI. Past musicals include: The Armory (One Night with Janis Joplin); Northwest Children’s Theater (Grease, Annie); Artists Repertory Theatre (Footloose); and Broadway Rose Theatre Company (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Book and Lyrics
Best known as a pivotal creative mind behind the renaissance of Disney animation and his work on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast (which is dedicated to "Our friend, Howard Ashman, who gave a Mermaid her voice and a Beast his soul"), Ashman's first love was theater. Ashman was a founder of off-off Broadway's renowned WPA Theatre, where he conceived, wrote and directed God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, as well as the classic musical Little Shop of Horrors (both with music by Alan Menken). In 1986, he wrote and directed the Broadway musical Smile (music by Marvin Hamlisch). Lamented as a lost treasure of the 1980s theater scene, Smile remains popular on high school and college campuses throughout the country. Howard Ashman died in 1991 from complications of AIDS. howardashman.com
Alan Menken’s music and lyrics have become an integral part of the fabric of our lives since his first works were produced nearly 40 years ago. His stage musicals include Little Shop of Horrors, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Real Life Funnies, Kicks, The Dream on Royal Street, Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Carol, Weird Romance, King David, The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Song and score credits for film musicals include The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, The Shaggy Dog, Home on the Range, Enchanted, Tangled and Mirror Mirror. Song credits for film include Rocky V/“The Measure of a Man”; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York/“My Christmas Tree”; Life With Mikey/“Cold Enough to Snow”; Noel/“Winter Light”; and Captain America: First Avenger/“Star Spangled Man.” Songs for television include Sesame Street, the ABC miniseries Lincoln, a musical episode of The Neighbors and the ABC series Galavant. His chart topping songs have included “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” “Colors of the Wind” and “Go the Distance.” He recently won Tony and Drama Desk awards for Newsies. He has won more Academy Awards than any other living individual (including four for Best Score and four for Best Song); 11 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year for “A Whole New World”); seven Golden Globes; the London’s Evening Standard Award; an Olivier Award; and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Other notable achievements include induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Billboard’s Number One Single (“A Whole New World”) and Number One Album (Pocahontas). In 2001, he was named a Disney Legend. He has doctorates in Fine Arts from New York University and North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2010, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Alan’s upcoming works include a stage production of A Bronx Tale, a New York City Center’s Encores! production of God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, a live-action film adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, the Sony animated movie Sausage Party, and a film musical project for Universal Pictures.
Bill Fennelly is thrilled to return to Portland Center Stage at The Armory where he directed Gypsy and Black Pearl Sings!. Recent projects include The Underpants at Guild Hall in East Hampton, Hairspray and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Syracuse Stage (S.A.L.T. Awards for Director of the Year and Production of the Year for both productions), Herringbone (Barrymore Award nomination, Best Director of a Musical), and the world premiere of Fly By Night at Dallas Theatre Center and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto (Dallas Column Award for Best Director of a Musical; Bay Area Critics Award nomination for Outstanding Director of a Musical). Bill’s work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally, including: original assistant director for Jersey Boys; resident director for The Lion King; staff director at New York City Opera; Phil Killian Directing Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; associate producing artistic director of The Acting Company; and assistant artistic director for Cirque du Soleil. Bill earned his M.F.A. in Directing from U.C.S.D. and is an associate professor of theatre at Drexel University.
Portland Center Stage at The Armory: Drammy Awards for Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sweeney Todd, Ragtime, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story; Our Town, Dreamgirls, The Last Five Years, Twist Your Dickens, Fiddler on the Roof, Somewhere in Time, Black Pearl Sings!, Oklahoma!, The Huntsmen (JAW), The Imaginary Invalid, Sunset Boulevard, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grey Gardens, A Christmas Carol (Composer), Cabaret, The Fantasticks and Bat Boy. He is the creator of the hit Off-Broadway musicals The Taffetas and The Cardigans (New York City Bistro Award for Outstanding Musical Review); musical supervisor for the West Coast regional premiere of Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre); and assistant conductor/vocal director for the pre-Broadway workshop of Cy Coleman’s The Life. Rick has written for Disney Live Family Entertainment, American Hawaii Cruises and American Classic Voyages, and developed The Cinnamon Bear Cruise. Rick is a private vocal coach, concentrating on musical theater audition and performance technique. rlewismusic.com
Kent returns to The Armory where choreography credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dreamgirls and Fiddler on the Roof. Associate choreographer credits include Ragtime (The Armory); and It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!, Cabaret and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Dallas Theater Center). Directing credits include Sister Act, Young Frankenstein and La Cage aux Folles. Theater credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Thou Shalt Not (Broadway); Show Boat (London); The Producers, Guys and Dolls, Footloose, Show Boat (National Tour); Spamalot, Nice Work If You Can Get It (Ogunquit Playhouse); It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman!, Cabaret, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Dallas Theater Center); Ragtime, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, A Christmas Carol (The Armory); Randy Newman's Faust (The Goodman); A Chorus Line, 42nd Street (Casa Mañana); Smokey Joe's Cafe (Arts Center of Carolina); and White Christmas (TUTS). Film/TV: The Shawshank Redemption, The Producers and My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs. Psalms 91:11.
The Armory debut. Selected Off-Broadway productions include: The Bus and the American premiere of Frank McGuinness’ Gates Of Gold (59E59 Theaters); Bloodsong of Love (Ars Nova); The Black Suits (The Public Theater); and Things to Ruin (Second Stage, The Zipper Factory). Regional Credits include productions at Ford’s Theatre, The Old Globe, Cleveland Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Sarasota Opera, The Muny, Papermill Playhouse, and multiple productions for Goodspeed Musicals, including Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, Showboat, Annie Get Your Gun, 1776, Big River and Camelot. Tours: James Taylor’s One Man Band, Ella the Musical and Motherhood the Musical. Other productions include Oklahoma!, starring Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase, for the Oklahoma state centennial. Michael recently designed productions of Marie Antoinette and Phantom for EMK International in Seoul, South Korea. msportfolio.com
Recent regional credits: Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Peter and the Starcatcher; Humana Festival (2015 and 2016); Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Mad River Rising; Round House Theatre’s Ironbound; Huntington Theatre Company’s Raisin in the Sun, Invisible Man and Ruined. Other regional credits at Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Arena Stage, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Studio Theatre, Imagination Stage, Flashpoint Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Studio Arena Theater, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Awards: 2012 Bay Area Critics Circle nomination for Ruined at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; 2012 IRNE Award nomination for Ruined at Huntington Theatre Company; 2009 Helen Hayes nomination for The Neverending Story at Imagination Stage.
William C. Kirkham
William C. Kirkham is a recent transplant to Portland from Chicago and is thrilled to be working at The Armory on this production, as well as the upcoming productions of The Oregon Trail and Constellations. Regional credits include American Music Theatre Project, Arizona Broadway Theatre, ArtsWest Playhouse, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Childsplay, Contemporary American Theater Festival, The House Theatre of Chicago, The Hypocrites Theater Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Upcoming projects include productions with Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage and South Coast Repertory. William earned his M.F.A. in Stage Design at Northwestern University and is a proud member of USA Local 829. wckirkham.com
Casi’s home base is The Armory, where her recent credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, Great Expectations, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Three Days of Rain, Cyrano, The People’s Republic of Portland, Threesome and Dreamgirls (PAMTA Award); Other Desert Cities, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, A Small Fire and Chinglish with composer Jana Crenshaw; and ten seasons of JAW. National shows: Holcombe Waller's Surfacing and Wayfinders; Left Hand of Darkness, My Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award, 2011), Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart and PEP TALK for Hand2Mouth Theatre. Other credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (Broadway, PS122, national and international tours); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls (La Jolla Playhouse); Playland, 10 Fingers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA). Film credits include Creation of Destiny, Out of Our Time and A Powerful Thang. Imagineer/maker of the Eat Me Machine, a dessert vending machine.
John is an actor and fight director who has been choreographing violence for more than 25 years. He is based in Portland, where he choreographs for many local theater companies and teaches throughout the region at colleges, high schools and middle schools. John’s work has been seen regularly on stage at The Armory, Portland Opera, Artists Repertory Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Miracle Theatre and many others. John’s work has twice been recognized within the Portland theater community for Best Fight Design.
Imagine being in a room full of artists, watching the birth of an idea, a movement given purpose, a sentence, phrase, scene, act given life. Then imagine that room translating to the stage with lighting, sound, costumes, scenery and props, then you can imagine what Mark’s job is like. Special thanks to the phenomenal production assistants, Stephen Kriz Gardner, Will Bailey, Kristina Mast, Bailey Anne Maxwell and Kristen Mun, who help keep the vision attainable. Prior to The Armory, Mark toured nationally and internationally with musicals including Dreamgirls, The King and I with Rudolf Nureyev, How to Succeed …, Grand Hotel, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent and Jersey Boys. Other Portland credits include several summers with Broadway Rose Theatre Company in Tigard. Regional credits include Alley Theatre (Houston, TX), La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA) and Casa Mañana Theatre (Fort Worth, TX).
Assistant Stage Manager
Janine is glad to be back for her second season at The Armory. Previous credits at The Armory include: JAW 2016 (stage manager), Great Expectations (stage manager), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (assistant stage manager) and Our Town (stage manager). Other Portland credits include Portland Opera’s Sweeney Todd (followspot caller); the world premiere of DC Copeland's Play (stage manager/production manager); and How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes and The Other Place at Portland Playhouse (stage manager). Touring stage management credits include: The Graduate (starring Morgan Fairchild), Cats, The Vagina Monologues, Jekyll & Hyde and Show Boat. While in New York, Janine had the opportunity to work on The Lion King on Broadway, as well as with many Off-Broadway and regional companies. Production management credits include: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for “Democalypse 2012 Republican National Convention” (Tampa, FL); Straz Center (Tampa, FL); and The Fox Theatre (Atlanta, GA). Proud NYU graduate and AEA member.
Stephen Kriz Gardner
Audrey II Manipulation/Production Assistant
As a local production assistant/stage manager, Stephen has been seen (and many times not seen) on stage handing off props or moving scenic pieces, sometimes even in costume, but this will be Stephen's first production where he takes part in bringing a significant character in a play to life. He could not be more excited to take on this role during his fourth season at The Armory. So, in the words of his stage manager, "let's see what happens."
Bailey Anne Maxwell
Bailey Anne Maxwell is thrilled to be returning to The Armory for another season, after acting as production assistant for Stupid F**king Bird, Sex with Strangers, Other Desert Cities, Twist Your Dickens (2014 and 2015) and Dreamgirls. Bailey also worked as a deck crew member on Great Expectations at The Armory last season. In the past, Bailey has worked as a production assistant with Artists Repertory Theatre on The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Foxfinder, Ten Chimneys, The Lost Boy and Seven Guitars. Bailey has recently enjoyed being the stage manager for Up the Fall with PHAME Academy and The Wizard of Oz with Broadway Rose Theatre Company. She has also worked with Profile Theatre as a stage management apprentice on Buried Child, Eyes for Consuela and In the Next Room. Bailey is a proud Linfield College graduate and a member of the EMC program.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Founded in 1960 and a recipient of two Tony Awards — the 2004 Regional Theatre Tony Award and the 2007 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for Company — Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is known for its artistic excellence, commitment to new works, creative educational programming, and as an artistic home for some of America’s best actors, directors and designers. For the past 20 years, the Playhouse has produced at least one world premiere production each season, several of which have gone on to subsequent productions or publications. Artistic Director Blake Robison and Managing Director Buzz Ward oversee a full-time staff of 75. Together with a board of 54 trustees and nearly 1,000 volunteers, they remain committed to a tradition of excellence that carries the Playhouse well into its sixth decade. The Playhouse offers productions 10 months each year, attracting nearly 190,000 people annually to its two theaters and education and outreach programs.
Music Theatre International
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theaters from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theater as a vibrant and engaging art form. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theaters in the United States and over 60 countries worldwide. MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theater and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.
Portland Center Stage is committed to identifying & interrupting instances of racism & all forms of oppression, through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, & accessibility (IDEA).